Refrain hasty conclusions

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The Ukhrul episode in which the chief minister Okram Ibobi had to return without accomplishing his mission of inaugurating various new infrastructure of the government, including a 100-bedded district hospital, because of opposition by the Tangkhul Naga Long, TNL, and the organisation’s supporters, was unfortunate, but even this sorry turn of event should not warrant hasty conclusions as so many are prone to. Available information are sketchy just as yet, although some photographs and video clippings, some of which are already up on social media sites, do give some insights into the developments during the day and the days leading to it. Accounts of what exactly happened from local correspondents of various media organisations should throw more light on the events in the coming days. From the sketchy picture so far, it does seem there was vehement opposition by the TNL to the CM’s mission of inaugurating these government projects for the cited reason that these were political gimmicks. Midnight yesterday, only hours before the CM’s visit, there was a bomb lobbed at the Ukhrul 100-bedded hospital which was to be inaugurated, causing shrapnel injuries to an India Reserve Battalion, IRB, personnel. There were also photographs of boulders on the road the CM’s team was to travel after arriving in an Army helicopter at Hundung village. Pictures from this morning also showed a burnt vehicle and burning tyres on the road, characteristic of any violent street protest anywhere. A video clip further showed the CM, Dy.CM, Gaikhangam, and the rest of the government entourage, boarding back the helicopter which brought them to Hundung village ground after they were apparently left stranded there for a while as all the roads out of it were blocked and it would have been near impossible to clear the road barricades immediately without violence. Soon after the helicopter lifted off, an officer in uniform was seen frantically shouting and signally all the security personnel around the ground to herd inside a hall in a move that seemed no less than the ostrich hiding its head in the sand when it perceives a threat, and in the belief this would end all of possible aggressions from all putative hostile parties. Normally the common sense security resort should have been either to fan out or else regroup outside into fighting positions, and then try to dominate the area. Once everybody was huddled inside the hall, a short burst of automatic rifle fire was heard outside. The whole episode was sad, but everything also seemed so ill-handled.

Let the sorry events of the day be left as they were until a clearer picture emerges without attempts to dramatise them any further. But whatever the accuracy of the accounts so far, one thing is clear, the divide between the hills and the valley is getting wider by the day. The government’s move to inaugurate infrastructures it created was opposed and made an issue today. But it would not be unreasonable to presume, in a hypothetical situation, had the government decided to leave these new infrastructures alone without any official dedications, that too would have caused the same eyebrows of disapproval to be raised. Indeed, there are other strong parallel political undercurrents which would have ensure this, for the motive of this parallel politics is to showcase and demonstrate before the world the irreconcilability of the hills and the valley. As with so many other protests in the state, in the valley as well as in the hills, in this case too, the stated goals of the protests have become somewhat immaterial. The more powerful motives of these protests are the protests themselves. This is also probably why ways out of these problems are bleak, for these protests and discontents have become the causes and the effects unto themselves, therefore feed on themselves to sustain themselves. Freud had an explanation for this kind of self-perpetuation of misery in his essay “Mourning & Melancholia”. The two are interrelated but distinct. In mourning, the mourner grieves over a loss, but there remains a distance between the mourner and the object of his mourning. The mourner indeed tries to, and eventually succeeds in departing from that state of grief. The attitude is one of: “You are dead and I am alive. I will never abandon your memory but I cannot be with you forever and must move on.” By contrast, melancholia is a narcissistic and self-destructive engagement in which the mourner begins to take perverse pleasure in his own state of misery, perpetuating therefore his own victimhood by unconsciously celebrating that very state. The question and the answer become the same, and it come as: “I feel miserable and oppressed because I feel miserable and oppressed.”

Source: Imphal Free Press

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